Born in London in 1962, Yinka Shonibare moved to Lagos, Nigeria at the age of three. He returned to the UK to study Fine Art at Byam Shaw School of Art, London and Goldsmiths College, London, where he received his Masters in Fine Art.
Over the past decade, he has become well known for his exploration of colonialism and post-colonialism within the contemporary context of globalization. Working in painting, sculpture, photography, film and installation, Shonibare’s work examines race, class and the construction of cultural identity through incisive political commentary on the tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe, and their respective economic and political histories. Shonibare uses wry citations of Western art history and literature to question the validity of contemporary cultural and national identities.
In 2002, he was commissioned by Okwui Enwezor to create one of his most recognised installations, Gallantry and Criminal Conversation for Documenta XI. In 2004, he was nominated for the Turner Prize and in 2008, his mid-career survey commenced at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney touring to the Brooklyn Museum, New York and the Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C. In 2010, his first public art commission, Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle was displayed on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London.
In 2013 Shonibare was elected a Royal Academician. Works recently shown at the RA have included the RA Family Album, which was used to wrap Burlington Gardens during the refurbishment of the RA, and the room he curated as part of the 2017 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. His sculpture Wind Sculpture VI was also displayed in the RA courtyard during that exhibition.
Shonibare’s forthcoming new commission with the Public Art Fund, Wind Sculpture (SG) I, is currently on display at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park (until 14 October 2018).
His work is included in notable museum collections including Tate, London; the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago among others.
Born: 1962 in London, England, United Kingdom
Elected RA: 24 September 2013
Preferred media: Sculpture